Federal government records -- and public access to them -- are defined in various statutes, including the Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The Presidential Records Act (PRA) governs the official records of Presidents, including George W. Bush, created or received after Jan 20, 1981. The PRA allows for public access to Presidential Records through the FOIA beginning 5 years after the end of a President's Administration, but allows the President to invoke as many as 6 specific restrictions to public access for up to 12 years.
To assist your research, view the Finding Aids for open records currently available. Finding aids may include information about extent or linear feet, access, series, administrative or biographical history, scope and content note, system of arrangement, container list (folder title list), and other details.
All FOIA requests must state that you are requesting records under the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA. Submit your request in written format via mail, fax, or email to:
George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
c/o FOIA Coordinator
2943 SMU Blvd, Dallas, TX 75205
Fax: 214-346-1558 (include cover sheet)
Email: email@example.com (include your name in subject line)
- To avoid delays, review the FOIA Reference Guide before submitting your request.
All FOIA requests must include a reasonable description of the records requested.
- Be as specific as possible with regard to names, titles, dates, places, events, subjects, recipients, or agency component(s) or offices likely to maintain records that are of interest to you.
The more specific you are about the records or types of records you want, the more likely it will be that our archivists will be able to locate those records for you.
- Be aware the FOIA does not require us to do research for you, analyze data, answer written questions, or create records in order to respond to a request.
- Understand that if you have an impending deadline, the FOIA process does take time.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is the 13th Presidential Library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration, a U.S. Federal agency. The National Archives does not charge FOIA filing, searching, or processing fees. However, standard reproduction fees are charged for copying records. See the FOIA Reference Guide for details.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Presidential Record?
The PRA defines Presidential Records as “documentary materials, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof, created or received by the President, his immediate staff, or a unit or individual of the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise and assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.”
| PRESIDENTIAL RECORD
| NOT A PRESIDENTIAL RECORD
||2000 & 2004 Campaign Materials
|Texas Gubernatorial Materials
| Presidential Correspondence
|George W. Bush Foundation Materials
Examples of the offices that create Presidential records include the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, the White House Counsel’s Office, and the White House Office of Speechwriting.
How long will it take to get the records I requested?
The FOIA process takes time. FOIA requests are processed by a first-in/first-out system based on a queue structure determined by the amount and type of records requested. Once a request is at the front of a queue, processing begins.
If you request Presidential Records that are subject to the PRA -- and the National Archives determines no FOIA exemptions apply -- we must inform the incumbent and former Presidents (through designated representatives) of our intent to release responsive records, in accordance with Executive Order 13489. This notification gives them an opportunity to invoke executive privilege over the records proposed for disclosure. See the Letters of Notification of Intent to Release Presidential Records.
The authorized review period begins only after all other review decisions, including classification issues, have been resolved and reviewed records are proposed for opening to the public. You will receive an acknowledgement letter with tracking number and information concerning the status of your request. After the Presidential notification process is complete, you will receive a final response letter.
Can I get my FOIA expedited?
Ordinarily, the National Archives will expedite a FOIA request only in certain cases. See the FOIA Reference Guide for more information.
How can I access the records?
Open records are available for viewing in the Research Room at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. Photocopy orders can be placed by contacting the Archives staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-346-1557. Electronically processed materials will be made available online through the National Archives Catalog and found using your FOIA request number (gwb.20xx-xxxx-F). Unfortunately, electronic records are not available in the National Archives Catalog at this time; however, they are available on a CD for $5. Learn more about Planning Your Research Visit.
What is the national archives catalog?
The National Archives Catalog is the National Archive’s online public portal to records and information about records held by the National Archives.
Can I submit a FOIA request for political or campaign materials?
The PRA defines material related to political campaigns, which has no information concerning the constitutional, statutory, or official or ceremonial duties of the President, as personal material. This material is not subject to FOIA requests.
Can I request Gubernatorial Records?
While the gubernatorial records of George W. Bush are housed at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, requests must be submitted to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. To request George W. Bush gubernatorial records, click here.
What if I have other questions?
Send us an email, call our Archives staff at 214-346-1557, or visit the National Archives's FOIA Frequently Asked Questions page.
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